At the time of this writing, former Vice President Joe Biden is projected to be the next President of the United States. In the coming days and weeks, we can safely expect President Trump and his team to contest this result in an eleventh hour Hail Mary. But for now, let’s take a quick look at how Biden performed in our southern states.
Unsurprisingly, President Trump dominated the South overall. We wrote last week about some southern states turning more purple than red, but we also said that the South’s progressive movement is incremental. With that being said, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Alabama, and West Virginia all voted in favor of President Trump by a margin of thirty points or more; Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi all voted for President Trump by twenty points or more; and Louisiana and South Carolina both voted for President Trump by more than ten points.
And then we have the states that were believed to be in play for Joe Biden. President Trump won Texas by a margin of six points, which can sound very disappointing for a battleground state. But consider the fact that President Trump won Texas by nine points in 2016. Even better, consider turnout: 3.8 million Texans voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2016, versus 5.1 million for Joe Biden in 2020. That is definite, measurable progress in a state that is a necessary component for any Republican presidential candidate’s electoral college victory. Similarly, President Trump won Florida by just three points, with Joe Biden receiving something in the neighborhood of seven hundred thousand more Floridian votes than Hillary Clinton earned four years ago. And, for now, the only other result we know in the South is Virginia voting for Joe Biden by a margin of nine points.
But there are two more southern states still in play. They almost certainly won’t change the projected winner of the electoral college results, but their results could still be meaningful. North Carolina and Georgia, two states that were viewed on election morning as states that could serve as early indicators for President Trump’s chances of victory, were both deemed too close to call on election night, with some votes still being tallied. As of this writing, President Trump currently leads in North Carolina by less than two points with ninety-four per cent reporting, and Georgia by just over one point with ninety-six per cent reporting. Final results in North Carolina will likely give Trump a very narrow victory in the state, while Georgia may be a coin flip. But the results in both states will certainly be far closer than they were in 2016, and if either state does elect Joe Biden, Donald Trump’s capacity to litigate final electoral results will be diminished.
Much has already been said of the fact that this election has not been the repudiation of Donald Trump and what he stands for (racism, xenophobia, and autocracy, to name a few things) that so many of us had hoped for. The narrowness of this election has certainly been disappointing. But change in this country has always happened slowly, and then all at once. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the South’s finest sons, famously said: “Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” A Biden victory, however narrow, is a bend toward justice.